Reason to Carry
by Rich Grassi
I was recently asked to give the top ten reasons to carry a concealed handgun. The concept surprised me, but I quickly defaulted to my family, myself and my community. I couldn’t come up with ten reasons unless I started with the names of the people for whom I care deeply.
I’m sure it wasn’t meant that way. I have to conclude that the question was serious. The sole reason I could articulate was “to meet the sudden emergency of a life-threatening attack.” The answer is along the lines of “in case I get a flat tire” when asked why do you carry a spare tire – or “in case of fire” if asked why do you have a fire extinguisher.
I carry a pistol to stop a fight – specifically stopping the “immediate, otherwise unavoidable danger of death or grave bodily harm.” That’s the circumstance that justifies homicide. I learned that from about our best guy in the instruction of deadly force, Massad Ayoob.
That answers the “carry a handgun” component but perhaps not the “concealed” part. For defense, the best surprise is no surprise. For dealing with the sudden threat – a robbery perhaps – the best thing I have going is surprise. I carry concealed so the first inkling the violent criminal actor gets that something is wrong will be the sudden appearance of the concealed defense handgun.
I carry concealed because “if he can’t see it, he won’t know it’s there.” He would have to formulate an attack on the holstered handgun after he found out it was present – as in a physical struggle. If you carry the handgun indiscreetly, the gun grab assault can be planned sooner and from a distance.
I carry concealed because—well—it’s polite. I don’t want to “frighten the horses.” There are people who are simply and unreasonably fearful of armed persons. They scare easily – and who needs that? There are also the clowns who want to “SWAT” those who carry indiscreetly; they call the police with a complaint that you are a dangerous armed person in the hopes the police will attack you. It’s not smart and it’s something that could yield a charge of obstruction, false reporting and likely other violations in some states.
There are people who want to carry concealed but don’t want to put in the effort. They’ll carry something small, a ‘talisman’ to ward off evil-doers. The pistol isn’t a lucky charm. It’s a pain to have to lug it around with all the responsibility (and weight) it entails. But, if you don’t want the burden just take your chances.
I did a comparative test some years back using Smith & Wesson M&P pistols – the M&P9, a service-size 17-shot 9mm, and the M&P9C, a compact 12-shot 9mm. Using similar holsters I found that, with a little effort, the full-size gun hid just as well as the smaller counterpart. I also found that the time to a first hit in the scoring rings of the IALEFI-Q target from seven yards averaged the same elapsed time from identical holsters.
This was no surprise. To really hide the full-size gun, I used an inside-the-waist holster. Carry outside the waistband was fine for casual concealment. I also found both guns shot just about the same in terms of practical accuracy. I used the Glock 30SF, a compact 10-shot .45 Auto, on the FBI Firearms Instructor Bullseye course of fire. I scored just over 92%, not enough for a gold medal but enough to gain entry into or stay in their firearms instructor course.
The bottom line is, if you’re going to carry a gun make it one worth carrying. Put the effort into dressing around the gun and practicing enough to be skillful in gun handling and accuracy.
Carry it legally. And pray you never have to use it.
Rich Grassi, founder and editor of The Tactical Wire and Ready for Anything Wire —both free-subscription email news wires, has been an outdoors writer for over 21 years. Retired from a career in local law enforcement, his experience includes law enforcement firearms instruction and as a university adjunct instructor in criminal justice.
Massad F. Ayoob is an internationally known firearms and self-defense instructor. He has taught police techniques and civilian self-defense to both law enforcement officers and private citizens in numerous venues